After-thoughts from Iowa’s 73-52 loss to Michigan in the Big Ten tournament:
--What a difference a day makes. On Thursday night against Illinois, Iowa played loose, built a big lead and things gradually fell apart for the Illini. On Friday, the Hawkeyes were on the opposite end of things. They stayed with Michigan for most of the first half, then things began to unravel just before halftime and only got worse in the second half. You could almost see it in the Hawkeyes’ body language before the game. There seemed to be fewer smiles, less joking around, and it translated into the game.
--There’s no nice way to say this so we’ll just say it: Zavier Simpson thoroughly outplayed Jordan Bohannon. For the second time this season, Bohannon failed to score and he actually only got off two shots against Simpson, a second-team All-Big Ten player who made the league’s all-defensive team. Bohannon committed two turnovers very early in the game and although he didn’t have any more after that, he just didn’t do much. Meanwhile, Simpson had 10 points four rebounds and 11 assists with just one turnover. He made all four of the shots he took, including a pair of 3-pointers and two of his patented running sky hooks.
--Even though Iowa won an earlier meeting with Michigan (74-59 on Feb. 1), Simpson got the best of Bohannon in that one, too. Bohannon had eight points and two assists to 10 points, eight rebounds and seven assists for Simpson.
--It’s difficult to explain why the Hawkeyes went 1 for 16 from 3-point range a night after going 12 for 23 against Illini, but here is one theory: They had the wrong players shooting from behind the arc much of the night. Bohannon only attempted two 3s. So did Joe Wieskamp and Isaiah Moss. Nicholas Baer, who was 5 for 6 against Illinois, only took one. The others were launched by Connor McCaffery, Luka Garza, Ryan Kriener, Austin Ash. The only made 3 was a bank shot by walk-on Nico Hobbs with about a minute to go.
--Michigan also had some of its lesser 3-point shooters throwing up shots but they were going in. Simpson and Eli Brooks both were shooting less than 30 percent for the season, but each of them made a pair. The Wolverines also got a very good game from sophomore forward Isaiah Livers, who spearheaded the run that gave them some separation before halftime. Livers, who scored 13 points, has quietly had a very good season and would have been a worthy candidate for the Big Ten Sixth Man of the Year award that was won by Michigan State’s Xavier Tillman.
--Although he didn’t score, Iowa senior Nicholas Baer didn’t really have a bad game. He collected five rebounds, two steals and two blocked shots. It’s the 45th game in his career in which he has had at least one steal and one block.
--One night after they had 25 assists on 31 field goals, the Hawkeyes had just 10 assists on 21 made baskets. Michigan’s numbers were much better in that area: 24 assists, 28 field goals.